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What is Research Interest?

Research Interest is how we measure scientists' interest in your research.

Metrics are a powerful tool to evaluate science and move it forward. When used well, metrics can help researchers and institutions understand how their research is being received and applied around the world. But deciding what constitutes a good metric is a complex issue. While no single metric can give you the full picture of the impact your research is having, we believe our new Research Interest score can help you complete the picture.

At ResearchGate, we're committed to giving you insights into how people read, recommend, and cite your work. Millions of scientists interact every day with each other's work through our platform – creating a unique opportunity to offer a broad understanding of interest in their work. With the Research Interest score, we now have a quicker and more comprehensive way to do just that.

How Research Interest scores are calculated

Through our research and input from scientists, we decided to focus on how ResearchGate members are showing interest in individual research items and how that interest is evolving over time. We believe that this new score can give authors a faster, more comprehensive picture than citations or reads alone.

We built the Research Interest score to be intuitive, so that researchers can quickly understand and use it in as many situations as possible. This score is focused on research items and scientists' interactions with them, using concepts that are familiar to our members. To provide an overview of a researcher's body of work, we've also added a total Research Interest score, which simply adds up the Research Interest scores from all of an author's research items on their profile.

What the Research Interest score includes

When researchers read, recommend or cite a research item, its Research Interest goes up. Based on our data and feedback from scientists, we chose to focus on these interactions to reflect the lifecycle of a scientist's increasing interest in a piece of research. First, a researcher accesses a research item. If it sounds of interest, they may read the full-text (if it is available). If they like what they read, they might recommend it. And if the work is really relevant, they might cite it in their own research.

This is how we decided on a system for weighting the different forms of interaction:

  • A read* has a weighting of 0.05.
  • A full-text read* has a weighting of 0.15.
  • A recommendation has a weighting of 0.25.
  • A citation has a weighting of 0.5.

*A 'read' is when someone views a publication summary or clicks on a figure, whereas a 'full-text read' is counted when someone views or downloads the full-text. Learn more about how we count reads)

What the Research Interest score doesn't include

To make Research Interest scores meaningful to our members, we decided to exclude certain types of data:

  • Reads by people who are not ResearchGate members
    By only measuring interest from scientists that have logged in to ResearchGate, we can provide the 'who' behind the metrics, a key part of understanding how an author's work is being received.

  • Multiple reads and recommendations by a researcher in a single week
    A researcher interacting multiple times with the same research within a short period of time doesn't represent an increase in interest, but leaves the score more open to abuse.

  • Interactions from bots, crawlers and other automated systems
    Our bot detection system is constantly monitoring abnormalities so that we can react quickly to any irrelevant or fraudulent activity. You can also send feedback to our support team if you suspect any unusual activity in your stats.